In small-town USA, business as usual for Mexican cartels (video).

News of cartel machinations are common in cities near the…

News of cartel machinations are common in cities near the border, such as Phoenix, and the far-flung drug hubs of New York, Chicago or Atlanta, but smaller towns bring business, too. In unsuspecting suburbs and rural areas, police are increasingly finding drugs, guns and money they can trace back to Mexican drug organizations.

The numbers could rise in coming years. The Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center estimates Mexican cartels control distribution of most of the methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana coming into the country, and they’re increasingly producing the drugs themselves.

In 2009 and 2010, the center reported, cartels operated in 1,286 U.S. cities, more than five times the number reported in 2008. The center named only 50 cities in 2006

Source: Eliott C. McLaughlin for CNN.

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